Friday, June 29, 2012

Couch Grass - Common, but unfavourable.

In previous editions, we've talked about a few common grass species which are prevalent on the North Shore. Those are:
  • Buffalo
  • Kikuyu and 
  • Couch. 

We've already explained that Buffalo has generally positive characteristics for your lawn and garden and that Kikuyu is a generally unpleasant lawn species. This time, we'll explain Couch grass.

Simply put, Couch grass is a perennial grass, much like Kikuyu. It shares a few characteristics what that 'orrid species in that it is invasive and if it isn't properly managed can become quite a disaster on your property.

In the past, it was considered to be favourable because it had soft blades compared to Buffalo. Earlier Buffalo species were known as "old scratchy" in some places because it was a very coarse-leafed grass and wasn't much fun for the kids to play on. Modern buffalo species have been bred to remove some of those unfavourable characteristics, including the 'purpling' that old species display in winter.

However, much like Kikuyu and some others, Couch grass is a high maintentance species. If you don't undertake a rigorous maintenance schedule, there is a very high chance that you will have 45 cm tall grass in a very short time. With a little less attention and good growing conditions, it's possible for it to grow to 150 cm in one season! It is an excellent grower and makes some decent fodder for some pets (goats, sheep, etc). Chances are that quite a few of those 'weeds' in your garden are Couch grass. In my garden, I know they are!

For modern lifestyle purposes, Couch grass is just a pain in the hindquarters.

If you're installing new turf, don't think of the cost savings by choosing this weed at installation time. Consider the cost of maintenance and how much commitment you can make to maintaining and containing this species.

You're most welcome to comment below or make contact with My Garden Guy if you have any questions.

Next edition, we'll talk about those fun packs of grass seeds available from hardware stores. What is in those packs may shock you. 

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